Doubts about democracy growing in world’s richest nations

Citizens of some of the world’s richest, most democratic nations are questioning whether their countries are really governed in accordance with the public will, according to the latest GlobeScan tracking.
In 2011, GlobeScan asked citizens to say whether they considered that their country was “governed by the will of the people.” With many of the countries also surveyed back in 2002, the findings show how perceptions have shifted over nearly a decade.
They reveal that there have been significant decreases in four of the world’s biggest economies—Germany, Japan, the UK and the USA—in the proportions who believe that the will of the people governs their country. Proportions who believe this have fallen from 32% to 21% in Germany, 44% to 29% in the USA, 27% to 21% in the UK, and 15% to 4% in Japan—the lowest proportion in the survey.
Despite unrest about alleged vote-rigging in recent parliamentary elections, Russia is one of the few countries where the number of citizens satisfied with the government’s responsiveness to public opinion has increased over the decade—still, fewer than one in five Russians (19%, up from 12%) believes that the country is governed by the will of the people.
With negative perceptions of public power more common in the world’s major democracies than in China (where 47% believe the country is governed by the will of the people), it seems that elections in themselves may no longer be sufficient to create a strong sense of popular sovereignty.
Finding from the GlobeScan Radar, Wave 2, 2011
This post was written by former GlobeScan Research Director, Sam Mountford.